Dear God: You know I’m not very good at prayer. I try, but my small words always get stuck on big ideas. I’m trusting you know what I need–and what my prayers mean–even when I don’t.
I’ve read my Bible a few times and there are lots of things in there that bother me. Some of the things that bother me most are things the Bible says you’ve done. I’ve always thought of you as a creative force for good. Yet the Bible says that back in the day you did some pretty destructive things. Things that in my limited judgment seem out of character for the benevolent creator of this vast universe.
The Bible says that you. . .
drowned the world with water,
and destroyed cites with fire,
and ravaged crops with locusts,
and struck down the the firstborn of an entire nation,
and that you commanded your people to wipe out entire cities.
While these stories make me uncomfortable, I’ve always assumed you had your reasons. I can appreciate that the point you were making with these brutal acts of judgment made perfect sense at the time, even it they now cause people like me, living in a different time and place, to pass judgment on the way you did things back then.
But today I’m looking at such things from a different angle, and I’m wondering if it’s not time for you to make another point in a way that only you can.
I’m not asking you to do any of the things I’ve just mentioned, but the Bible says you did some other things back then that still might play well today:
Remember the time when you took away the voice of a religious man who should have known better? Or the time when you struck a misguided religious zealot with temporary blindness? I think you could still get away with stuff like that without being criticized for it by people like me.
Now Lord, I’m not asking you to kill anyone. But I’m wondering if maybe you might be willing to step in and do something about that church–you know the one–that is making headlines by spewing hate in your name? They’re heaping abuse on those who are already suffering terribly and they’re giving you the credit for it.
What about a tornado in the middle of the night that destroys their building (but injures no one of course)? Would you consider striking their leader blind for a few days? That did wonders for Saul. Or maybe muting his voice for several months? Give him a large chunk of quiet time to think about his hateful rhetoric and maybe the next time he speaks he’ll have a different message. Or how about a hoard of crickets overrunning their property? Not too many, just enough to drown out their message with constant chirping.
I trust that you’ll do the right thing in this. Just please intervene and let the world know that you do not approve of what these people say and do. There’s a lot of us down here already saying so, but I think it would mean a lot more to the rest of the world if it came from you directly.
That’s about it. Thank you and good night. (I can’t bring myself to offer this prayer in the name of Jesus because I’m not sure he would approve. So this one is all on me. Though if he wants to give it a thumbs up when it crosses his desk, I would appreciate the endorsement.)
Your frustrated servant,
Oh, and one more thing. If in your infinite wisdom you know that by answering this prayer and doing any of the things I’ve just suggested, it would nudge me irreversibly in the direction of becoming the kind of person I’ve just prayed against, then please disregard this prayer altogether. Like I said, I don’t always understand what my prayers mean and sometimes I need to be forgiven for saying mean prayers.